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Friday, May 31, 2013

DJ: Meet the 2013 RFT Music Award Nominees

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 5:31 AM

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DJ Mahf

DJ Mahf works from some place in his brain that pumps out enough enthusiasm to make his work look easy. Performing with a chilled zeal, the Indyground DJ interplays dense minutes of thumping samples with crackling movie clips and fine-tuned, one-and-two-handed scratches. He has already banged around Kansas City's spirited Middle of the Map Festival with labelmate Brett Gretzky, crossed the northern American border and cut and pasted for Red Bull's Thre3style competition this year. Whether live or replayed through Indyground's streaming footage, Mahf exudes the enjoyment he feels: In tempo he bobs at the waist, moving faster in the moments when he is inundated with the floor's energy, always looking pleased. It is Mahf's obvious enjoyment of his craft that puts his sets so squarely in the spotlight. -Blair Stiles


DJ Needles

The Hold Steady got it right: Everyone's a critic, and most people are DJs. If the rise of EDM has reset the bar to heights so low anyone with a MacBook and a pair of Beats headphones can get a gig, true DJs — like James Gates, a.k.a. Nappy DJ Needles, a.k.a. Nodzilla — deserve our attention more than ever. Needles' obsession with music and DJ culture goes back to his childhood. His father was a respected DJ in St. Louis, and Needles himself has been crate-digging and mixtaping since the '90s. At home in both digital and analog worlds, Needles excels in flow, the fine art of transitions. His breaks are lively and surprising, but the beats and the deep cuts he selects — often drawn from genres and artists you wouldn't expect from a DJ grounded in hip-hop — always blend together in a set like a story with an arc, a sonic mural that comes to life before your eyes and ears. -Roy Kasten

Previously: - Hip-Hop (Group) - Hip-Hop (Solo) - Noise - New Band - Punk - Post Hardcore - Rock - Soul/Funk - Jazz - Hard Rock - Hardcore - R&B - Singer/Songwriter - Pop - Indie Rock - Psych - Folk - Electronic/Dance - Experimental - Cover - Country - Blues - Chamber Pop - Metal - Americana

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